By Raphael Gotlieb, Precare Inc.
Since I was 12 years old, I've volunteered at an oncology clinic. Over the years, I've had the privilege to follow my passion and participate in research projects centred around improving patient care and safety through innovation. I've learned that medical errors are, unfortunately, a significant factor of the patient experience.
Some 7.5 per cent of Canadian patients are affected by medical errors yearly; these kinds of errors are the third leading cause of death in both Canada and the United States. The majority are associated to poor decision-making, half of which occur in a surgical context and half of those from mistakes in thinking (not technical skills). This led me to focus my thesis research in experimental surgery on creating a simulation platform to diagnose physician decision-making processes to improve patient safety.
We quickly realized that the lack of participation and shared decision making with patients is a significant issue. The leading causation was narrowed down to inefficient patient education.
Canadian studies show that in clinical settings, patients forget up to 80 per cent of the information related to them by the healthcare provider. And if this was not alarming, half of what they do remember is misremembered. Furthermore, patient education in today's format is expensive and inefficient. It stretches human resources, educators, nurses, doctors, printed media gets outdated, while language barriers remain a significant issue.
To address these issues, a new paradigm in patient education was developed, Precare.ca
: a free patient education platform providing evidence-based guides as animations (Smart Health Video™). It has been shown that people retain up to 90 per cent significantly more information when presented as simple, engaging audiovisuals in comparison to text. Each of the animated guides is provided in 20 common languages spoken in Canada, giving patients access to medical information in formats that are easy to understand, accommodating for a range of literacy levels, cultures, spoken languages, and modes of communication.
Over eight million Canadians have a non-official language as their mother tongue. Patient education programs rarely provide translated content, thus leaving a glaring gap in access to medical information for those patients whose mother tongue is not an official language. From a healthcare perspective, we aim to reduce the need for printed media and stretched human resources of specialized healthcare providers, while improving patient information retention and empowerment. The platform can create a feedback loop by engaging the patient and obtaining information (MDcisionsTM) that allows for more personalized and improved care, which further engages the patient. By optimizing the flow of information in the Canadian healthcare setting, we hope to reduce complications and improve care.
Presently available animations can be previewed at www.precare.ca, ranging from pregnancy guides to oncology.
The platform was developed with a strong partnership with the Jewish General Hospital of McGill, with Drs. Sena Turkdogan, Gabriel Schnitman and Ben Segev at the core of Precare. The platform thrives from amazing nationwide collaborations with hospitals, medical societies and a special partnership with
Enhanced Recovery Canada led by Dr. Claude LaFlamme and the
Canadian Patient Safety Institute with senior program manager Carla Williams.
MSc Experimental Surgery is a medical researcher at the Jewish General Hospital and the founder of Precare Inc.
This innovative virtual platform, which provides up-to-date, evidence-based information through animated medical and surgical guides.